The IPL 2022 season was a watershed tournament in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as two new teams were added to the previous eight, making it a 10-team competition. And one of those two new franchises – Gujarat Titans – went on to lift the trophy under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya.
The IPL 2022 season was preceded by a mega-auction, the first such since 2018. The squads were revamped, and all the franchises were offered 4 retentions each in different combinations of Indian and overseas players.
The top-bracket retentions made by the franchises were of high amounts and some of the picks in the mega-auction too broke records.
Here is the list of the top 10 highest-paid players in the IPL 2022:
KL Rahul – 17 crore
After spending four seasons at Punjab Kings and leading them in the last two, KL Rahul left the franchise and hopped on to the Sanjiv Goenka-owned and Gautam Gambhir-mentored Lucknow Super Giants, who acquired the services of the stylish India opener for a whopping 17 crore and made him their skipper.
Thus, KL Rahul also became the joint-highest-paid player in the history of the IPL; former RCB captain Virat Kohli was also paid 17 crores per season from 2018 to 2021.
Rahul led LSG through to the playoffs where they lost to RCB in the Eliminator, though the opener had another bumper season with the bat: Rahul was the second-highest scorer of the tournament with 616 runs at an average of 51 and notched up 2 centuries.
Rohit Sharma – 16 crore
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma was the first retention by the five-time champions ahead of the IPL 2022 auction. This time, however, Rohit couldn’t work his magic in what was an unsettled, inexperienced Mumbai unit; MI endured their worst-ever IPL season, finishing at the bottom of the 10-team points table with just 4 wins in 14 games.
Sharma himself had a disappointing tournament with the bat: 268 runs at an average of 19 and strike rate of 120, and he failed to register even a single half-century.
Ravindra Jadeja – 16 crore
It was Ravindra Jadeja who was retained in the first bracket, which is worth 16 crores, by the Chennai Super Kings and not MS Dhoni, who was retained in the second bracket worth 12 crores. Before the start of the season, Jadeja was named the new captain of the franchise.
However, the southpaw stepped down mid-season from the captaincy job after CSK lost 6 out of their first 8 matches, and handed the duties back to Dhoni.
Ravindra Jadeja couldn’t complete his season as a rib injury ruled him after he’d featured in 10 games, wherein the left-hander could manage only 116 runs at an average of 19 and strike rate of 118, and a best of 26*. It was truly a dismal season for Jadeja.
Rishabh Pant – 16 crore
Delhi Capitals had a choice to make between Rishabh Pant, who had led them to the playoffs in the IPL 2021, and Shreyas Iyer, who also wanted the captaincy job. Eventually, the Capitals opted for the keeper-batter as their skipper and Iyer went into the auction where KKR bagged him and made him their new skipper.
Pant was retained as the first-choice player for 16 crores. Delhi couldn’t reach the playoffs in 2022, and Pant’s season was also mediocre: 340 runs at an average of 30 with no half-century to his name.
Ishan Kishan – 15.25 Crores
Because of the limit on the number of players a team can retain, Mumbai Indians couldn’t retain Ishan Kishan as they opted for Rohit, Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard, releasing Kishan and even Hardik Pandya.
But, the MI owners and management were adamant in roping Kishan back in their side and therefore splurged out 15.25 crore in the IPL 2022 mega-auction, making him the second-most expensive Indian player in any auction.
24-year-old Kishan is a potential future captain and superstar, so spending so much money on him is justified. The left-handed opener had a decent season with the bat in 2022 as Kishan ended up as MI’s top run-scorer with 418 runs at 32, but his strike rate of 120 came under criticism.
Virat Kohli – 15 crore
Virat Kohli’s contract dipped from 17 crcroresetween 2018 and 2021 to 15 crore in 2022, but he was still RCB’s first retention ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction even though he had stepped down as the captain of the franchise.
Kohli had one of his disappointing IPL seasons as the right-hander finished with 341 runs in 16 innings at an average of 22 and a concerning strike rate of 115 while raising only two fifties. RCB, under new captain Faf du Plessis, was wewasnocked out in qualifier 2 by Rajasthan, coming one step short of the final.
Hardik Pandya – 15 crore
The moment the Mumbai Indians decided to not retain Hardik Pandya, it had felt all but certain that the Baroda-born all-rounder will go to his home state franchise – Gujarat Titans. The franchise owned by CVC Capital Partners obtained Pandya’s services for 15 crcroresnd appointed him as their captain.
Hardik had arguably his best-ever IPL season as a player: he scored 487 runs at an average of 44 with the help of 4 fifties and also snapped 8 wickets. Pandya showed great maturity as Gujarat’s captain while leading for the first time in the IPL and marched the side to the IPL title. This season also paved the way for him to be added to the leadership group of the Indian team.
Rashid Khan – 15 crore
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who is a serial match-winner in T20 cricket, had reportedly demanded to be the first retention pick at SRH, but the franchise gave it to Kane Williamson. Rashid left SRH and found a new home at the Gujarat Titans, one of the two new franchises.
The Titans signed Rashid for 15 crcroresthe same amount they gave to captain Hardik Pandya, and also named the leg-spinner their vice-captain.
Rashid enjoyed his time at the Titans, picking up 19 wickets and keeping an economy of 6.59, and won the IPL trophy for the first time in his career.
Sanju Samson – 14 crore
Captain Sanju Samson was retained in the top bracket by Rajasthan Royals, handing him a contract worth 14 crcroresThe talented Kerala batter showed his aggressive way with the bat, smashing 458 runs at a strike rate of 146.
Samson also gained fans with his impressive captaincy on the field and leadership off it as he propelled the Royals to the final of the IPL 2022, where they lost to Gujarat.
Deepak Chahar – 14 crore
Deepak Chahar maintained his success in the IPL with the Chennai Super Kings from 2018 to 2021 and got into the Indian team as well after showcasing his competency and potency as a new-ball wicket-taker.
CSK couldn’t retain him – they went with Jadeja, Dhoni, Gaikwad, and Moeen Ali – but the franchise shelled out their purse in the IPL 2022 mega-auction and procured the seamer back for a lucrative amount of 14 crores, which is the highest-ever auction purchase price for an Indian pacer.
Unfortunately, Chahar couldn’t turn up for IPL 2022 because he suffered a back injury in February that put him out of action for about 6 months.
We can understand from this list that the IPL franchises wish to keep their best player, and more often the captain, as their highest-paid player. The auction dynamics totoean that cricketers with the in-demand skill set and future potential would bag hefty sums at the auction table. However, higher pay doesn’t always lead to the best results on the field, as evident from some of the disappointing performances of the abovementioned players.